Monday, February 4, 2013

2012 Catch Up (Safety Not Guaranteed / Frankenweenie)

Safety Not Guaranteed (2012)

Director: Colin Trevorrow
Writer: Derek Connolly
Stars: Aubrey Plaza, Mark Duplass, Jake Johnson

It has a great premise and I really came to like both of the main characters. Unfortunately, the film also sees fit to spend time on cliched subplots for the bland and stereotypical side characters. The other thing that bothered me quite a bit is that the main plot had set up to explore some really interesting and more mature themes and then chickened out for the easier-to-swallow, crowd-pleaser ending. Even these problems can't completely overcome the fact that the relationship that develops between the two leads is fun to watch and there is some great deadpan humor scattered throughout. I just feel that if the subplots and side characters were as original as the main premise (and they hadn't flubbed the ending), that this could have really been something special.

Score: 5 / 10

Frankenweenie (2012)

Director: Tim Burton
Writers: Leonard Ripps (original screenplay), Tim Burton (original idea), and John August (screenplay)
Stars: Winona Ryder, Catherine O'Hara, Martin Short

Burton's return to his roots is a definite improvement over his disastrous output of the last few years, but still not up to the standards of his best work. Frankenweenie is a great rendition of his distinctive style and looks great. The story is decent and starts out very well in the first half hour or so - as the movie progresses, the story becomes more and more sloppy. The drive of the central narrative peters out and the script just starts making excuses to throw in as many references as it possibly can during the final act. I was hoping that the ending would take a different turn, but it is a kids movie, so I'm not sure why I expected anything else. An enjoyable movie, though not exceptional.

Score: 5 / 10

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